With all sorts of preconceived ideas about 4 weeks on the road with our new camper trailer, leaving the 5 bedroom home, and on the road with the family of 5, soon to be six, with only one nights site fees booked, there was a definite air of excitement mixed with apprehension. We have not attempted anything like this before. Sure we have been on the road travelling, we love to get away, but we have always done so in hotels resorts and apartments, and now we have committed ourselves to 4 weeks on the road, with no TV and no toy room, and staying basically in a “tent on wheels”.
The verdict- we absolutely loved it, and we are all definitely hooked.
This little blurb is not about where we went but the overall feeling and experience of our trip. We went to some absolutely wonderful places but our experience was even more wonderful. It was a 4 week tour starting in northern inland NSW, and heading north through outback Queensland, back to the coast at Townsville and down the QLD coast slowly making our way back home. We did not know how to plan it or even if we should plan too much – we sat around the family table working out what we liked, and drew up a rough schedule from that. Ok O loves Qantas, well that’s got to be Longreach, Little Fish loves dinosaurs well that’s easy Winton and Hughendon, and Bess loves princesses and the beach, princesses is a hard one but Queensland boasts some of the beast beaches in the world, and ourselves, well its all of the above and anything in-between.
Our set up is very basic compared to most. We have a Lifestyle camper trailer which we love. We purchased it in February and only used it a couple of times, getting used to the camper set up and pull down (4 weeks on the road will fine tune this process), we have no power, no fridge just an ice box to keep things cool. Our idea is that we want to work out ourselves what works and how to set our Lifestyle camper trailer up. The best way to do this is to actually live in it for a while and make a lot of mental notes. We have a Toyota Prado, diesel, manual, which we also love, to pull to camper and get ourselves around.
We had our bags packed, trailer packed, and the car packed ready to burn some kilometers and leave all our worries behind! However due to a work commitment – end of financial year party! – and our family not one to miss a great party, we did not hit the road until late that day for our first destination, St George – it was about 2.30pm Sunday with everyone full of sugar and our daughter, who is 2, face painted as a butterfly, we jumped into the car. So by the time we were due into St George, it was going to be late, getting on dark. Time to quickly hit the road and rush to our first destination….. well not really. There is something about hitching up the camper trailer, and hitting the road that’s just a bit hypnotic, and there is definitely something about it that says “no rush”, its something also you tend to learn as well, and for us it was learnt very quickly, instantaneously almost, that it more about the journey and not just about the destination. The time spent in the car will be a nightmare unless you learn this attitude, and thinking back, the car games we played, the conversation we had, the laughing and silly carry on, was some of the more memorable moments that we enjoyed the most.
The anticipation, the adventure attitude and the quality time spent with the family make a camper trailer road trip a must do for all families. We had our fair share of fights in the back seat, and had some ‘oh no’ moments like when our 6 year old announced very early in our trip “hey dad the DVD player is not working”, at the time it was a “damn” moment, but actually ended up being a blessing in disguise, and even 6 months from being back from our adventure we will have not fixed or replaced it. The voice from the back suddenly becomes “ I can see a Qantas 747 dad” as we reach the outskirts of Longreach, or “Dinosaurs” from our 4 year old Little Fish, who was so speechless and excited about the Dinosaur Discovery Centre at Winton, all he could manage to get out was the one word “Dinosaurs”. The DVD player was not an issue, there is the image in my mind of the DVD player lying in the bull dust along side the road, but our country is too beautiful to leave anything behind regardless of the change in mindset or the statements that need to be made at various points in life.
(more to come in part 2!)